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Indonesian diaspora joins fight against pandemic at home

first_img“I am proud and touched because even though [members of] the diaspora themselves are facing this COVID-19 pandemic, they are still showing their care and love for our country,” Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah said in a statement.As of May 18, more than 3 million workers have either been told to stay home or have been laid off as a result of the pandemic, Manpower Ministry data showed, although the ministry could only verify about 1.7 million people as the remaining workers had invalid names or addresses.IDN Global founder Dino Patti Djalal said the donations would go directly to the recipients’ bank accounts and “not a single cent” of the donation would go to the ministry or IDN Global. He said he hoped the partnership would inspire a similar movement at a larger scale.Read also: Indonesian diaspora in US holds virtual ‘kebaya’ competition in COVID-19 quarantine Members of the Indonesian diaspora are lending a hand in the domestic struggle against COVID-19, although they have said that the government could do more to allow them to help address national crises.On May 18, the Manpower Ministry and the Indonesian Diaspora Network Global (IDN Global) kicked off the Diaspora Peduli (Diaspora Care) fundraising program, which is seeking donations from Indonesians abroad to help 5,000 workers who have been furloughed or laid off.Each recipient family in the program is expected to get US$50 (Rp 735,025) per month, and donors can choose or communicate first with the beneficiaries by looking at their profiles on www.diasporapeduli.id. The ministry expects at least six million members of the Indonesian diaspora to participate in the campaign. But Dino said that in the long run, the government needed to form a national body for the diaspora that could better connect the two sides for joint efforts. Before the pandemic hit Indonesia, citizens living abroad had been asked to return home to contribute and “reverse the brain drain”, but many of them did not know who to reach out to or what office would help them in the placement process, Dino said.The Indonesia Migrant Worker Protection Agency (BP2MI) covers only migrant workers who perform manual labor. That accounts for about one third of Indonesians abroad. The ministry has a limited budget and thin human resources for dealing with the estimated 5 to 8 million Indonesians abroad, Dino said.“So unless there is a systematic presence of an institution that deals with the [whole] Indonesian diaspora, I’m afraid that we will have unfulfilled promises or policy shortcomings in engaging with the Indonesian diaspora,” Dino told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.Read also: Govt encourages diaspora scientists to return homeNikko Akbar from the Overseas Indonesian Students Association Alliance (PPI-Dunia) said his organization wanted more involvement in the government’s COVID-19 efforts.PPI-Dunia has so far raised about Rp 200 million (US$13,585) through events including e-sports competitions and an online pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) session, and the organization is actively promoting physical distancing on social media.PPI-Dunia has been using the funds it has raised to buy hand sanitizer, masks and protective gear for Indonesian medical workers and people affected by the virus.It has also sent an open letter to the government recommending ways to deal with COVID-19 based on a comprehensive review of other countries that had been “relatively more successful” in doing so.“We hope we can be directly involved in government campaigns and its COVID-19 task force,” said Nikko who is leading a PPI-Dunia team to respond to the pandemic in the Asia-Oceania region, “because I believe that many PPI members who are experts in their own fields are very open to not only join discussions but also to directly go in the field to handle COVID-19.”The Research and Technology Ministry and the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) launched a scheme on April 9 that allows local research groups from universities, NGOs and state institutions to partner with Indonesian scholars living abroad to propose research ideas on COVID-19. The proposals are due on May 30.Read also: Researchers face uphill battle to help with COVID-19 fightInternational Indonesian Scholars Association (I-4) secretary-general Sastia Prama Putri expressed her support for the initiative and other partnerships that had recently been developed with the government.However, like other diaspora communities, she said, diaspora researchers should be given a larger role in solving national problems in the future. She recommended the government facilitate cross-appointments between universities as one way to increase cooperation.“If the country opens up and encourages the involvement of the diaspora, we will certainly be very happy and want to contribute to solving various national problems, including COVID-19,” Sastia said.South Tangerang resident Dewi Komalasari, 40, said she was happy to receive help from the Diaspora Care program after she was laid off as a restaurant worker in late March. She is raising two children alone.“Even if it is small [in value], the aid is very meaningful for me because I can use it to buy staple foods. I will use it as wisely and as economically as possible,” Dewi said, as quoted in the Manpower Ministry’s press release.Topics :last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Chelsea’s Hudson-Odoi says to face no action on rape allegation

first_img“Following a full and thorough investigation, the police have now confirmed they will take no further action.”Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “A man arrested on Sunday, May 17 following an allegation of rape has been released with no further action.”Chelsea have made no comment on the incident.Topics : Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi said on Saturday police have confirmed they will take no further action over a rape allegation.The 19-year-old was arrested on May 17 following an argument with a woman, the Sun newspaper had reported.”I have stayed silent and assisted the police fully throughout their enquiries, as I knew the day would soon come when my name would be cleared,” Hudson-Odoi wrote on Twitter.last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Erick Thohir establishes morals as ministry’s core value amid 53 legal cases against SOEs

first_imgState-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said he wanted akhlak (morals) to become the ministry’s core value amid a rising number of legal cases within some SOEs. The ministry also launched a new logo on Wednesday, citing that the new core value and logo were part of the ministry’s bureaucratic reform.“Akhlak is important to have as a core value because there are currently 53 legal cases against some of our state-owned enterprises and we do not want more cases,” he said in a broadcast keynote speech. “This transformation is not just lip service.” Some of the country’s state-owned enterprises have been in the spotlight for graft cases and lawsuits.Recently, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) detained PT Dirgantara Indonesia’s former president director and former commerce director as suspects in an aircraft manufacturing graft case. Meanwhile, state-owned insurer Jiwasraya has been investigated for allegedly mismanaging Rp 16 trillion in investment.Read also: Seven companies to relocate facilities to Indonesia, invest $850mErick went on to say that the SOE Ministry was also doubling down on efficiency and good corporate governance by slimming down clusters and reshuffling employees.Previously, the minister slashed the number of SOE business clusters to 14 from 27. He also shuffled the PLN board of directors as well as replacing PT KAI’s president director as part of his plan to restructure major state companies.  He said the ministry must ensure it carries out strategic projects such as those in Batang, Central Java. The ministry did not specify the projects in Batang, but there are several ongoing projects such as a hydropower plant and Batang Industrial Park. (eyc)Topics :last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

China says G4 swine flu virus not new; does not infect humans easily

first_imgAn analysis by the ministry concluded that sampling of the published study is too small to be representative, while the article lacks adequate evidence to show the G4 virus has become the dominant strain among pigs.The ministry said it drew its conclusions after holding a seminar on the G4 virus’s impact on the hog industry and public health. Participants included Chinese veterinarians and anti-virus experts, as well as the leading authors of the PNAS study.The participants concurred that the G4 virus is not new, the statement said. Furthermore, such a strain has been monitored continuously by the World Health Organization (WHO) and related agencies in China since 2011, the statement said, citing a senior WHO official.In addition, the authors of the published study agreed that the G4 virus does not effectively replicate in the human body and cause disease, according to the statement.The ministry’s statement was authored by Yang Hanchun, a swine viral disease scientist at China Agricultural University who also serves the role of expert on a ministry anti-epidemic committee. Topics : China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Saturday that the so-called “G4” strain of swine flu virus is not new and does not infect or sicken humans and animals easily, rebuffing a study published earlier this week.That study, by a team of Chinese scientists and published by the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), warned that a new swine flu virus, named G4, has become more infectious to humans and could become a potential “pandemic virus”.However, China’s agriculture ministry said in a statement that the study has been interpreted by the media “in an exaggerated and nonfactual way.”last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Kim’s sister says ‘no need’ for another US-N. Korea summit

first_imgTopics : Pyongyang insists that it needs its nuclear arsenal to deter against a possible US invasion.Kim Yo Jong’s statement was only her personal view, she said, but the lengthy declaration appeared intended to send multiple messages.She said she had watched the July 4 Independence Day celebrations in the US on television and had been given permission by her brother to “personally obtain, for sure, the DVD of the celebrations… in the future”.Her brother had “entrusted me with conveying his wishes to President Trump that he would certainly achieve great successes in his work”, she added.Kim Jong Un declared in December an end to moratoriums on nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and Pyongyang has repeatedly said it has no intention to continue talks unless Washington drops what it describes as “hostile” policies towards the North. The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Friday there was “no need” for another summit with the United States unless Washington offered a “decisive change” in approach.Kim and US President Donald Trump first met in Singapore two years ago but talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal have been stalled since their Hanoi summit collapsed in early 2019 over what the North would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.Trump said this week he would “certainly” meet with Kim again “if I thought it was going to be helpful”, after speculation that he might pursue another summit if it could help his re-election chances in November.center_img But in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Yo Jong — who has emerged as one of her brother’s closest advisers — said: “There is no need for us to sit across with the US right now.”If a summit was held, she said, “it is too obvious that it will only be used as boring boasting coming from someone’s pride”.Denuclearization, she added, was “not possible at this point”, and could only happen alongside parallel “irreversible simultaneous major steps” by the other side — which she emphasized did not refer to sanctions lifting.She did not go into specifics, but Washington stations 28,500 troops in the South to defend it against its neighbor, and has a range of military assets in Japan and the wider Pacific region.last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Barcelona mulls restrictions as Spain fights new virus clusters

first_imgBarcelona may bring back some restrictions on daily life after the number of coronavirus cases tripled in a week, its mayor said on Wednesday, as around 160,000 people in another part of Catalonia went back under lockdown to stem a new surge in cases.Just weeks after a nationwide lockdown was lifted and life returned largely to normal as infection rates dropped, Spain’s second-most populous region reported on Tuesday three deaths and 938 new coronavirus cases.Some 63% of those new cases were detected in Barcelona and its surroundings, stirring fears the regional capital and popular tourist destination might again become an epicenter of the virus. “What worries us the most would be to lose control of infections,” Mayor Ada Colau told Ser Catalunya radio.She cited informal gatherings without proper protection as the main cause. There are 29 coronavirus outbreaks in Spain’s second largest city, officials said.”We are not talking about total confinement as in previous months, but I think some measures have to be taken more widely,” Colau said. She did not say what activities might be restricted, adding this would be discussed in the next two days.The wearing of masks indoors and outdoors in public is already mandatory in Catalonia. Regional tensionsTourism-dependent Spain, one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries with more than 28,000 deaths from the pandemic, emerged from a strict national lockdown on June 21. Since then, more than 170 clusters have sprung up, prompting regional authorities to impose a patchwork of local restrictions, confusing locals and angering businesses.Tensions have been particularly high in Catalonia.The wealthy northeastern region of 7.5 million people is seeing the biggest number of new cases and its acrimonious push for independence in recent years has kept relations strained between its separatist leaders and the central government in Madrid.Just as a judge approved, after an initial rejection, the regional government’s stay-at-home order for some 160,000 residents of the Lleida area, about 180 km (110 miles) west of Barcelona, tensions rose over how to handle an increase in cases in Barcelona suburb L’Hospitalet, home to around 260,000 people.Another judge struck down overnight a restriction on gatherings of more than 10 people in three L’Hospitalet neighborhoods, but the Catalan government said it would appeal against the ruling and urged people to stay home.While Catalonia is the first region to reimpose a lockdown, parts of Galicia in the northwest have been sealed off to visitors, a Basque town imposed a curfew to tackle their own outbreaks, and in the southern Andalusia region, authorities made masks compulsory even on the beach or at swimming pools.”It is mandatory to wear a mask where it involves any type of movement other than being in the water or on the corresponding sunbathing area,” said lifeguard Aida Escolante, who oversees a pool in the town of Cueva del Becerro.A survey by CIS pollster showed on Wednesday found that more than 62% of Spaniards were in favor of stricter measures to combat outbreaks when needed.center_img Topics :last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Americans keep spending, even as layoffs continue

first_imgPositive developments were seen in retail sales data released by the Commerce Department and in a survey showing growth among manufacturers covered by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank.But economists fear the tentative economic recovery seen in recent weeks will be throttled by the renewed onslaught of COVID-19 cases forcing states to roll back reopening.”The reality is these numbers have remained elevated,” Adam Ozimek, chief economist at freelancing platform Upwork, said on Twitter of the weekly claims data. “What this looks like is continued job loss and continued permanent business closures.” Up and downIn an interview with Yahoo Finance, New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said the economy was in “a very deep hole” but at an important moment, with activity apparently recovering even as the virus remains a threat.”My hope is… that we’ll continue to see positive signs of a gradual recovery of the second half of this year into next year, but right now this is a critical inflection point,” he said.Federal rescue measures like the US$2.2 trillion CARES Act that expanded unemployment benefits and offered money to small businesses were “absolutely critically important” to the economy, even though some of that law’s provisions will soon expire.Thursday’s Labor Department data also showed an additional 928,488 people in 47 states made initial claims for benefits under a special program for workers affected by the pandemic who wouldn’t normally be eligible for aid. However, in the week ending on July 4, the insured unemployment rate dropped 0.3 points to 11.9 percent, with 17,338,000 people receiving benefits – further evidence that at least some of those who lost their jobs as the pandemic arrived have returned to work.The number of weekly initial claims still remains well above any single week of the global financial crisis 12 years ago, and this week’s release brings the total number of layoffs since mid-March to 51.2 million.”The trend in initial jobless claims has now just about stopped falling; next week could easily see an increase” due to the virus’s resurgence, particularly in the southern and western parts of the country, said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.”A flat trend in initial claims – which will in due course stop the downward trend in continuing claims – probably is about the best we can hope for.”Spend, spend, spendSeparately, the Commerce Department said retail sales were up 7.5 percent in June compared to May, with $524 billion in business, a better result than economists forecast.But the data, which reflects the period before the recent rollback in reopening measures, was nonetheless below the 18.2 percent surge seen in May.The pace of sales in the last three months of the COVID-19 crisis declined 8.1 percent below the same period of 2019.Mickey Levy of Berenberg Capital Markets said retail sales had made a “v-shaped” recovery that put them just 0.6 percent below their level in February before the pandemic hit, which he credited to money doled out to Americans as part of the CARES Act.While accommodation, recreation and transportation spending will probably remain depressed, he saw the growth continuing, reflecting a rebound in healthcare services spending.The National Retail Federation welcomed the growth but warned it could only be maintained if the coronavirus doesn’t spiral out of control.”All eyes are on the infections that are accelerating in many parts of the country, and they pose a serious threat to recovery,” said chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.Topics : Retail sales rose in the United States in June but weekly data indicated a steady flow of layoffs, and with the coronavirus outbreak worsening, analysts fear further deterioration in the economy’s health.The US is home to the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak, with a record 67,632 cases reported in the previous 24 hours, bedeviling states’ efforts to get business back to normal.The Labor Department on Thursday said new claims for unemployment benefits were at 1.3 million last week, higher than expected and barely changed from the week prior, meaning the surge in layoffs that began in mid-March as businesses closed has yet to subside.last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Flying high?: Garuda sacks pilot arrested for drug use

first_imgThe pilot was one of four people arrested in a drug raid by South Jakarta Police on July 6.Irfan said the airline had held a drug and alcohol management program and had subjected more than 120 crew members and airport officers at Terminal 3 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to urine tests on Saturday to ensure the safety and security of its passengers.He said the tests had not found any traces of narcotics in the airline’s employees.“Garuda Indonesia Group has regularly conducted drug checks on its employees to prevent any form of drug abuse in the workplace, as well as to ensure the safety and convenience of its customers,” he added.Topics : National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and its low-cost subsidiary Citilink have fired a pilot found to have had a history of drug use.Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra said the dismissal was meant to set an example for the airline’s employees, as the company had previously committed to a no-tolerance approach to such activities.“Based on our investigation and coordination with the police regarding a pilot working for Garuda Indonesia and Citilink who was involved in drug abuse, the company has decided to sever all professional ties with the pilot,” Irfan said in a statement on Saturday.last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

Facebook reports progress catching hate speech

first_imgAn Instagram Equity Team and a Facebook Inclusive Product Council were created to help make sure cultural fairness is built into products, according to the report.Facebook also said it is launching a Diversity Advisory Council to provide input topics and issues.Progress was also reported in automatically detecting terrorism content, with Facebook taking action on 8.7 million pieces of such content in the second quarter.Facebook remains under pressure to fight abusive and deceitful content on its platform — amid a boycott by advertisers — while fending off accusations it unfairly stifles politically conservative voices. “Despite the impact of COVID-19, improvements to our technology enabled us to take action on more content in some areas,” the report stated.Some of the improvement was credited to expanding automated detection to more languages including  Spanish and Burmese and to better understanding posts in English.Automated detection of hate speech at Instagram rose to 84 percent, with the Instagram, with the image-centric social network taking action on a total of 3.3 million pieces of content in the second quarter, according to the report.”We’ve made progress in combating hate on our apps, but we know we have more to do to ensure everyone feels comfortable using our services,” the report stated. Facebook on Tuesday reported progress in catching abusive content on the platform as it relied more on automated systems during the pandemic.The leading social network released its latest enforcement report as it announced updated policies to bar specific kinds of “implicit hate speech” such as blackface and “stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world.”The “proactive detection rate” rose six percent to 95 percent, with the leading social network taking action on 22.5 million pieces of content deemed hateful at Facebook and Instagram in the second quarter of this year, according to the internet giant’s latest enforcement report.center_img Topics :last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0

KPK to look into Rp 90 billion from state budget allegedly spent on influencers

first_imgThe Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said it would look into allegations that state funds of more than Rp 90 billion (US$6 million) were allocated to pay influencers to promote government policies on social media.“We will look closely to ensure whether such a budget exists or not,” KPK deputy chairman Nawawi Pomolango said on Sunday as quoted by Tempo.Nawawi added that the KPK could further investigate the case if any potential crimes were found in the state budget allocation. Last week, graft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) revealed that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration had spent at least Rp 90.4 billion from the state budget on digital activities involving social media influencers since 2017.Among the documents found by the antigraft watchdog was the 2019 public school enrollment promotion involving Indonesian actresses Gritte Agatha and Ayushita, which cost Rp 114 million.However, presidential staffer Donny Gahral Adian defended the government, saying the Rp 90 billion was not only allocated to influencers.“The Rp 90 billion was a budget for public relations. It was used for many purposes including public service advertisements through printed and audiovisual media,” he said on Friday. “So it was not exclusively for influencers.” (trn)Topics :last_img read more


October 19, 2020 0